Two Chinese conglomerates, Nantong Metal Forging Group (南通锻压) and Zhejiang Jinlihua Electric Co ( 金利华电) take two of the top four investment positions globally as of February 2016. The situation follows a precendent set by Leo Group two years ago.
“Both are following the leads of Leo Group (利欧集团) and Lecron Group (联创股份) to diversify and invest in digital companies,” said Greg Paull, principal of R3.
“We expect more to come out of the woodwork in China and try the same," he added. "So far the results have been mixed, but companies are under pressure to grow their businesses and their stocks.”
More alarming for agencies is the second-ranked global player this week: IBM. The software company capped three major investments in the US and Germany.
“IBM can now rightly call itself the largest digital agency in the world, and since it has years of developing C-suite relationships, it’s using this moment to build scale and talent in key markets,” Paull said.
In the Asia-Pacific region, both WPP and Publicis Groupe have made investments this year in Korea and Australia, but they pale in comparison to the Chinese manufacturing companies in terms of sales value and deal volume. All other holding groups have been quiet this year, so far.